With the Kenyan World Champs Trials this weekend, the mid-d/distance fields aren't quite as strong, but that opens the door for a slew of Americans. In the 1,500, Ayanleh Souleiman and Matthew Centrowitz will battle as Robby Andrews makes a rare DL appearance. Brenda Martinez, Molly Ludlow and Chanelle Price are all in the 800 and is there any way Andy Bayer can win the steeple?
Huddle was the only one to go with the rabbit and was still in contention with 100 to go, but lost out to the world silver medalist Cherono. In the steeple there was a fierce battle between Conseslus Kiopruto and Jarius Birech, Eunice Sum dominated the 800 and Nijel Amos and David Rudisdha finished only .10-seconds apart while Boris Berian went for it. In non-distance action, Renaud Lavillenie cleared 6-meters, Valerie Adams lost again and South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk blew the 400 field away. We recap it all here.
The men's 800 (Rudisha vs. Amos Rematch + Berian and Loxsom) and mile (Kiprop vs. Souleiman as Centro, Leo and Blankenship try to go sub-3:50) are the crown jewels of the Saturday action. Other action includes Molly Huddle vs. Mercy Cherono in the 5,000, Eunice Sum vs. Brenda Martinez in the 800 and an African showdown between Isaac Makwala (#5 all-time) and Wayde van Niekerk (#11 all-time) in the 400.
Lomong got the win in 7:42.19 to Lagat's 7:42.75. Andy Bayer was 6th (7:48.49). Switzerland's Selina Buchel took the 800 in 1:59.21, beating Chanelle Price by .03.
A lot of Americans competing including Bernard Lagat, Will Leer, Ben Blankenship, Garrett Heath, Lopez Lomong, Andy Bayer in the 3000, Charles Jock, Chanelle Price, Molly Ludlow, Gabriele Grunewald in the 800s. Also Melissa Bishop, Jenny Meadows and Lynsey Sharp. Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake are both in the 100, albeit in different heats. *Live Results
Fresh off a great run at the U.S. Champs, Evan Jager, Donn Cabral and Dan Huling face a stacked steeple field led by '14 world #1 Jairus Birech and world/Olympic champ Ezekiel Kemboi. Taoufik Makhloufi, who ran 2:13.08 for 1,000 on Wednesday, takes on stalwarts Ayanleh Souleiman and Silas Kiplagat.
We feel very confident in predicting one thing about the 800s. Ajee Wilson and Boris Berian are going to Worlds. After that, it's going to be a lot of fun seeing what happens.
There are quite a few contenders with five who have gone sub-2 this season in Ajee Wilson, Brenda Martinez, Alysia Montano, Chanelle Price, Molly Ludlow.
Mark Wetmore's two biggest stars will make their season debuts - Jenny Simpson (800) and Emma Coburn (1,500) - while Kara Goucher (5,000) will run her first track race since 2013 and Mary Cain will look to regain her "teen phenom" label.
Chanelle Price (2:01.30), Maggie Vessey (2:00.92), Molly Beckwith-Ludlow (1:59.50) and Alysia Montaño (1:58.90) all ran great as the U.S. easily beat runner-up Poland and shaved .96 of a second off the national record.
Ajee Wilson showed why she's America's best hope for distance gold in Beijing, Kirani James impressed, Lashawn Merritt didn't, Aleec Harris remained undefeated, Bershawn Jackson is back, Derek Drouin still likes Drake, and Loyola of Illinois pulled the upset in the 4x800.
The US pro track season starts off with a bang tonight with Ajee Wilson, Brenda Martinez, Chanelle Price, and Alysia Montano racing for $20,000, plus Kirani James vs LaShawn Merritt for $20,000, Ashton Eaton vs the hurdlers, and more. Saturday Leo Manzano and Matt Centrowitz square off in the mile.